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5Qs for CIOs and CFOs to Ask About Corporate Travel and Expense in 2023

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5Qs for CIOs and CFOs to Ask About Corporate Travel and Expense in 2023

How important is the relationship between technology and financial leaders?

Two words: game changer. Yet, according to Gartner, only “30% of CFO-CIO relationships can be described as strong digital partnerships – capable of outperforming their peers in financial management practices that are unique to funding digital.” One area where the two can work more closely together is travel and expense management. Why? Because business travel drives competition and revenue, and expenses are one of the largest sources of employee spending.

With greater distance between today and the pandemic, business travel continues to ramp up. Face-to-face is the new competitive advantage. One sales VP shared recently that he set down the theme for 2023 with his team: get off email and get in front of customers. 

The VP’s sentiments are affirmed by SAP Concur surveys of 100 U.S. finance managers (vice president and above) and 1,000 U.S. business travelers. They found that most finance managers (88%) said their company experienced a revenue loss over the past year—an average of $106,670—as a direct result of employees’ inability to travel at pre-pandemic levels.

Business travelers are on the same page about the necessity. Nearly half (44%) said that their company needed an increase in business travel to remain viable beyond 2022, 35% said the same for their career, and 30% said the same for their entire industry.

Yet, 2023 brings a whole new set of uncertainties – primarily economic. That’s why I’ve assembled five questions – or the 5Qs – CFOs and CIOs can explore together that give a fuller spending picture on business travel.

CIOs and CFOs in the Sandbox: 5Qs to Explore

Here are five questions for CIOs and CFOs to explore to contain costs, improve traveler experiences and more efficiently track expenses in real time.

1. Is the organization’s current expense solution unnecessarily using IT resources or outdated technology?

The old adage “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” holds companies back. An IDC research report found that roughly 80% of today’s AP managers’ time is spent on lower-level financial tasks, such as invoice matching, purchase requisition, and vendor management – all tasks that have the potential to be automated.

2. Is there a backlog of enhancement requests or report creation requests from users that cannot be addressed in a reasonable amount of time?

Finance isn’t seen as a sexy place to innovate by ERP providers. However, not investing in finance functionality is a mistake with long-term consequences. Companies that turn a blind eye and continue this path aren’t benefiting from the innovations being developed – from major cost savings across more areas of the business to growth opportunities for rising finance team talent.

3. Has the vendor of the technology announced an “end-of-life” strategy for the product? Or is the product in “maintenance only” mode?

Prepare for a technology’s “end of life” by transitioning to longer term solutions that create a more positive end-user experience, integrate travel data to give a company an end-to-end view of spend, or access to near, real-time data with insightful, visual reports.

4. Is the organization favoring solutions that increase the end-user experience?

According to a Forrester research report, “In the US, travel and expense software is considered the most important tool for enabling good employee experience.” The easier these processes are for employees, the more likely they will follow organizational protocols, budgets, and safety measures.

5. Is the organization capturing all employee spend data in one place? 

With multiple platforms capturing and aggregating all employee spend, companies risk not being compliant with government or industry regulations and increase their chances of fraud. It takes, on average, 14 months to detect a fraud scheme, according to an ACFE report. The big takeaway is: simplify. When finance has control and visibility into the details of where and how company dollars are spent, it becomes easier to detect fraud quickly.

Financial Transformation: It’s Real-Time All the Way!

The role of money is evolving. Whether it’s touchless or automated payments, blockchain or a shiny new cryptocurrency wallet, change is here. One prediction, however, by Deloitte is on point: Finance is going real-time. There will be less reporting and more real-time visualization. Here, technology offers solutions. 

SAP Concur’s findings back this up: business travelers want to see their company invest in adding or updating apps with real-time travel updates and booking (46%), tools for quicker expense reimbursement (43%), and tools for navigating the latest travel safety requirements (41%). A travel management system (40%) and an integrated system for travel and expense reporting (39%) round out their top five.

Finance managers themselves see change as inevitable. The study revealed that 100% said that their role has changed — and has become more challenging — since the start of the pandemic. 

Reasons include taking on additional work caused by staffing shortages (59%), additional auditing and paperwork requirements (45%), and new or added involvement in internal communications (45%). On average, they are spending six hours each week on these tasks. Tech solutions, like embedded machine learning and human verification, modernize finance. 

CFO-CIO Team Requires Solving for X Together 

Based on SAP Concur’s research, 66% of senior executives believe a strong partnership between IT and finance leaders enables the organization to remain agile in the face of unforeseen challenges. This I know: whether in my role as a parent, business advisor or board member, one of the best ways to get people pulling in the same direction is through a united pursuit of something bigger than themselves. 

Start with these five questions – and watch amazing things unfold. As CIOs and CFOs tackle big issues together, like balancing the benefits of business travel against a “do more with less” business environment, they cover more ground and help everyone, including the travelers themselves, arrive at a better destination.

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SAP Concur is a platform used by more than 46,000 businesses to connect financial data with greater spending control. I’ve used SAP Concur’s travel, expense and invoicing platform even before it was acquired by SAP in 2014. Learn more about SAP Concur solutions here.

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TECHNOLOGY

The Dark Side of Killer Drones

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The Dark Side of Killer Drones

Killer drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been a topic of much debate in recent years.

On one hand, these drones have the potential to be used for a variety of beneficial purposes, such as surveillance, search and rescue, and targeted killing of terrorists. On the other hand, there are serious concerns about the potential negative consequences of using killer drones, such as the loss of innocent lives, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. In this article, we will explore the dark side of killer drones.

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Source: Crown Copyright/ BBC

1. More Innocent Casualties

One of the primary concerns about the use of killer drones is the risk of innocent casualties. Drones are often used in conflict zones, where the situation is often complex and fluid, making it difficult to accurately identify targets. As a result, there have been numerous reports of innocent civilians being killed or injured in drone strikes. For example, a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated that between 384 and 807 civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and 2019.

2. Violation of International Laws

Another major concern about the use of killer drones is the potential violation of international laws. The use of drones in conflict zones raises questions about the legality of targeted killings, the right to due process, and the protection of civilians. The United Nations has called for greater transparency and accountability in the use of drones, and several human rights organizations have criticized the use of drones as a violation of international law. For instance, in 2013, a report by Human Rights Watch found that the US drone program in Yemen was violating international law, including the right to life and the prohibition against arbitrary killing.

3. Psychological Impact on Operators

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the operators who are responsible for carrying out the strikes. Drone operators often suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. This is partly due to the fact that drone operators are often required to carry out long-distance killings, often for extended periods of time, and the fact that they are often isolated from the consequences of their actions. For example, a study by the University of Utah found that drone operators were more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD and depression compared to other military personnel.

4. Stronger Dammage on Communities

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the communities affected by the strikes. The constant threat of drone attacks can cause significant stress and anxiety, leading to social and economic disruption. For instance, a report by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic found that drone strikes in Pakistan had a significant psychological impact on the local population, including symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Conclusion

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Sources: Thales, General Atomics, Northdrop Grumman, EMT Penzberg, Prox Dynamics | © DW

The use of killer drones raises serious concerns about the potential for innocent casualties, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. The negative consequences of using killer drones far outweigh the benefits, and it is imperative that steps are taken to limit their use and ensure greater transparency and accountability. The international community must work together to establish clear guidelines for the use of drones, to ensure that they are used only in a manner that is consistent with international law and human rights.

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Vodafone Ireland turns to Amdocs to drive enhanced customer experience

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Cloud Computing News

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Vodafone Ireland has chosen Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies, to transition its infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, enabling an enhanced customer experience and rapid adoption of the latest 5G innovations.

Under the agreement, Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) will migrate from Vodafone Ireland on-premise to the cloud, providing the Irish operator with greater flexibility and capacity to support its future growth.  

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Moving to the cloud is a key part of our strategy as we look to become even more dynamic, agile and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have a long-standing relationship with Amdocs and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on this important initiative.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said: “By migrating its IT services infrastructure to the cloud, Vodafone Ireland can ensure it has the foundations in place to achieve growth and further enhance the experience of its customers.

“We are excited to be taking such a central role in the company’s cloud strategy.”

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

With access to large amounts of data made available to businesses, maintaining and governing the kind of data that is accessible to users have become significantly essential.

Proper data and analytics governance in organizations can help them in achieving on-point data and analytics processes.

The use of data and analytics is increasing across practically all industries. Due to the availability of inexpensive storage alternatives, organizations have access to more data. It’s not surprising that the usage of analytics due to access to extensive data has expanded to every part of the company when you take into account the growing number of user-friendly tools for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data. 

However, a lot of effort goes into managing data and analytics. Thus, organizations must ensure that their efforts are aligned with their business priorities, and the data is accurate in nature and thoroughly secured. Without analytics governance, even if the organization has a good hold on its data governance policies, the advantages of establishing policies and processes to govern the analytics process still stand. As data governance guarantees your business has processes and standards around the use of data, analytics governance provides the same level of oversight to the way analytics initiatives are built and delivered.

Aligning Data and Analytics Governance

Data and analytics governance initiatives must be closely related to organizational strategies. However, businesses frequently base their data and analytics governance processes on data rather than the business. Here are a few points on how businesses can align their data and analytics governance with their business outcomes.

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Trusted Governance

Forming business decisions based on the notion that “all data is equal” is no longer a sound strategy because data and analytics capabilities exist across a company and differ in nature. Instead, create a paradigm of trust-based governance that allows for a dispersed data and analytics ecosystem and is able to help business executives make decisions that are more confidently appropriate to the circumstances.

Digitization

With the essence of developing technology, digitization has taken over almost every business to stay relevant in the market. However, for businesses to gain the best outcomes from the digital space, digitization is essential. And for successful digitization, data and analytics governance must function based on factors like digital ethics and transparency. Therefore, ensuring that the values and concepts of digitization are reflected in the data and analytics governance is crucial to significantly align it with business outcomes.

Data Security

Today, organizations are aware of the potential risks associated with their businesses and securing data has become a necessity. This awareness implies that they address both the threats and the possibilities brought about by data and analytics. Organizations frequently manage risk and market potential independently, and they also do not really prioritize information security when assessing business results. Therefore, data and analytics governance authorities should have interdisciplinary teams capable of making decisions that are well-balanced, giving risk, opportunities, and security the appropriate weight while considering the organizations’ future interests in mind.

 

Today, businesses are aware of the fact that without effective data and analytics governance, their initiatives and investments in data and analytics won’t be able to satisfy important organizational goals like increased revenue, cost reduction, and improved customer experiences. Therefore, aligning it with business outcomes is critical for business success.

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